Dealing With Reality
My mother is 94 years old. A few weeks back she became critically ill. In the process of seeing her go through a fitful, unnecessarily protracted, period of stabilization I have come to know the truth about our present day medical system and the horrific process of “assisted living”. The latter, in particular is a far cry from the brochure and telephone answering pitch, of “concerned care with dignity and attention to patient needs”.
The medical system is pure and simple a number’s game. The insurance industry and most importantly the Federal government are totally complicit in this scam. Private practice is predicated on how many patients the practice sees on a daily basis. And even more important, how many procedures and referrals are generated by a patient’s medical condition—or professed suspicion that there is a matter that warrants medical investigation or outside specialist treatment. Pay attention now. This is so simple it is complicated.
Follow this. Then multiply by the power of ten. The primary doctor sees the patient and the patient complains again about the difficulty of swallowing, plus edema (water) in her ankles. Two unrelated, but only a miniscule part of the list of old age consequences. A referral to a gastroenterologist is made. In-office labs are performed to check blood and for possible serological changes. The first appointment with the gastroenterologist is to fill out paper work ($100), hear from the doctor a three minute description of blah-blah concerning the procedure of dilating the patient’s throat, and the American tradition of shaking hands that seals the deal. A few weeks later there is the five hour day of the procedure that was pitched as a five minute look into her throat, dilation, and a two hour recovery. This will be followed by a “follow-up” appointment (another $100 ++) to hear the patient tell about her condition and feelings so that the Gastro Doc can finish with his “canned’ summary write up, that in turn generates the fees and enhances the follow-up merry-go-round for the primary physician.
Hence, in the big picture, this two hour referral has generated in excess of $2,000 in fees alone and the wave fallout has staggering monetary potential. Not counting the subsequent appointments and medicinal additions/ changes, and don’t forget the other complications that will soon follow as a matter of course.
If you, or your loved one, are not well heeled then you can expect another eye-opening consequence of failing health. That is the warehousing of mostly elderly who will languish or fail rapidly, as my mother has been fortunate enough to experience, and escape the blase` dispensation of daily “concerned care” and arrive at death’s consolable door.
My mother is a qualified member of the Medicaid constituency. She holds a gold card. You should know that the assisted living facility bills the Medicaid cash cow over $200 per day for my mother’s tenancy. In addition the facility takes 90 % of her social security check. That’s only fair. Any of us can readily understand that the S.S. play in this picture is not enough to support a warm bench in the bus station. However, that plus the Medicaid kick is more than it costs to reside in the upper end of true assisted living -- $85,000. ??????
It’s too bad that my mom won’t be around in this world to reminisce about this latest in a long life of experiences worth remembering. I’m sure that we’d get a few laughs about how big her 90 pound body’s stomach got when it filled with a gallon and a half of fluid. What a hoot that was to see drain off (this one can be laid at the feet of her primary physician’s practice bungling).
Then matters got better (Ha!). She was admitted to an assisted Living facility. Funnier yet was after waiting interminably in the dark of late night for someone to respond to her call light, she got up, borrowed her neighbor’s walker and in a few steps, fell mightily to the floor, cracking the back of her head. I still don’t know whether she got to go to the bathroom or not.
She knew that the “staff” had its hands full at 3 in the morning. They have to deal with those nuisances wanting to go to the bathroom; those inconsiderate patients who imagine they are in pain; or someone arrogant enough to ask for something to drink. It’s a thankless job, after all.
I believe the best incident of “concerned care” occurred this past Friday. My mom got breakfast. That went well, however, somehow, her dentures disappeared after oatmeal. It goes without saying, that no one, including the facility manager, the social services director, the on duty CNA, or the unit nurse supervisor, had the foggiest idea how a set of false teeth could have walked away from such a well managed environment where everybody is totally immersed in providing concerned care.
After all, the place has so many responsibilities and so little to work with. God forbid, that some careless patient might choke to death, suffocate, fall out of bed, or more annoying, dirty their pants more than twice a week.
Beware. This is what $84,000 a year in government dole gets you.
I think we have outpaced ourselves when it comes to being civilized. Plains Indians parked their failing elders on the side of the trail. If they liked the old fart a lot, they put them under a tree or left them a little water so they could avoid heat stroke. Or, if it was winter they left them a buffalo robe so they wouldn’t freeze to death until after they went to sleep.
I’m pretty sure that this is something Obama Care’s death committees are working on to salve this elderly glut and the inordinate costs. They don’t need to be living so long. It’s just too much trouble. We could be spending this money on abortions and support of illegitimate babies. Ahhha. Guess we know what comes first in cutting the costs of the other here.
Don’t plan on passing away anytime soon in the U.S. until this social travesty is corrected. If you’re a sinner Hell will be full. Purgatory will have a wait list too long. The heaven pass will be harder to cop than tickets to the Joe Cocker concert. Guess where that’ll be?
I thought it was funny too, Saylor.
Loved the piece in the Sunday Letters to the Editor - Tampa Bay Times: "Sen. Marco Rubio states his intention to impose a diplomatic freeze on Cuba in the event he becomes president. He envisions restoring diplomatic relations with Havana, but only if the government there allows opposition politial parties and gives them freedom to organize.
In reality, the United States has had diplomatic relations with scores of countries that do not allow opposition parties, so using this as a litrmus test is silly.
The 50 year embargo against Cuba has been a failure. It is time for this so-called new politician to recognize that having diplomatic relations with a country is not an endorsement , but the first step toward engagement that may lead to change.
Thanx Dennis Levine, Tampa
My first TV
Will be a season best seller
Boudreaux’s neighbor L.T. designed this for
His room mates.
Boudreaux & I collected these from all over rural S.C.
Salmon crossing the road
Whoa! If you snooze ya loose.
Hobo nickles - - Kool man!
Forgot the slingshot
In his dreams
Some wonderfully gifted people on this earth
Be sure and scroll down on this one.
The Tea Shot
The crossing to get to the 72 virgins
They live just Down the Road in Bamberg
Travelocity here we come.
That's Enuff said. Rednak Luvs Ya.